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:: High Fidelity

You're always going to get various camps debating whether the movie is better or worse than the novel, and in this case, Nick Hornsby's hilarious bestseller of the same name is a difficult beast to top. Add to this the problem of how English the novel is and how American the owners of the rights - Disney - insisted the film should be. Insurmountable odds? Not at all.
Star and screenwriter John Cusack asked for the author's blessings and then set the film in his hometown of Chicago. It works. It's brilliant. Equal parts funny, poignant, painful and insightful. Rob (John Cusack) is slightly less of a loser than his two employees. But as all three sit around Rob's totally cool rare vinyl and collectables store - compiling useless top 5 lists and berating unsuspecting customers about their terrible taste in music - it becomes plainly clear to every thirty-something in the packed out Festival crowd, that they either are being portrayed right now on the screen, or they know someone painfully like them.
Rob narrates to camera in between scenes of a painful break-up with his long-term girlfriend. He goes back and re-examines his life, where he keeps going wrong and makes his way through a trail of ex-girlfriends. John Cusak is so well cast in this film because of his characters' need to be appealing, coupled with a set of real-life foibles which strip away any movie-star heroics and presents us with a raw witty look at life, love and relationships.
Veteran British director Stephen Frears is master of the raw the real and the appealing, and he‘s a history of filming novels. Frears worked previously with Cusack on the slightly underdone Grifters, but returns’ this time to get it right. Sister Joan appears to work the Cusack magic, and John collaborates once again with the same screen writing school-chum team as his fabulous Grosse Point Blank. This film is almost too good, too insightful and the music almost too cool. Buy the soundtrack, read the book, see the movie.